I wasn't disgusted this morning to read that Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Dick Durbin, traveled to 14 different countries, mostly on the taxpayer's dime, in 2009 and 2010. Durbin is the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, and he needs to see the world to understand the foreign policy issues that Congress has to address.
Nor do I mind that plenty of House members from Illinois took foreign trips. Travel -- the right kind, at least -- broadens perspectives and deepens understanding. It's a worthwhile investment for taxpayers, who have a stake in an informed Congress. A bigger problem is members who don't know about the rest of the world and don't care to find out.
But I draw the line at recently departed Sen. Roland Burris, whose world travels cost us more than any other member of the state's delegation, except Durbin. Any knowledge Burris acquired was of little use, given that he was merely serving out the last two years of Barack Obama's term. The brevity of his stay on Capitol Hill meant that the $24,000 he spent was pretty much a complete waste.
Like everything else about his time in the Senate, it may have been good for Burris, but there was nothing in it for the voters of Illinois.
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